blueberry leaf scorching

m_taggart(7b)May 23, 2013

I have planted in my yard 2 Tifblue, 2 Powderblue, and 1 Climax blueberries. All rabbiteyes. Overall, I think the plants look rather healthy. However, I noticed over the last week or so that the Tifblue varieties have some scorched leaves on the youngest leaves. Any idea what this could be?

Some additional info - Blues were planted March of 2012. Soil pH is 5.0. Fertilized in late April with Hollytone. Mulched in early May with shredded pine bark mulch. I have had no need to irrigate as we've had plenty of rain here in NC.

Tifblue are at very top and very bottom.

Upper Tifblue

Upper Tifblue

Lower Tifblue

Lower Tifblue

Lower Tifblue

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To me your blueberry shrubs look generally healthy, and from your description, you are doing everything right to keep them green and growing. I would be inclined to prune off the scorched leaves, and keep the plants watered as necessary. It could be that you put down a bit too much fertilizer. If they get too much nitrogen, and can't take up enough other nutrients to support the growth, that will lead to brown leaves. I think the problem will self-correct if you keep the shrubs watered.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 10:13AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

I agree with Eric.....looks like a bit too much fertilizer. I have noticed some cultivars of BB seem a bit more sensitive to fertilization than others.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 12:17PM
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gator_rider2(z8 Ga.)

Red leaf disease name this one. by way off photo. Up close if see ring in red part leaf its red ring spot Virus nothing you can do destroy plant.
Red leaf Disease use systemic fungicide.

Here post I did on member has Ring Spot Virus.

Red Leaf Disease causes reddish-brown leaves with white spores on the undersides, while Red Ringspot Virus causes reddish-brown spots only on top of leaves. If you don't have white spores on under side you have red ring spot Virus.

Here is a link that might be useful: This show ring in photo

This post was edited by gator_rider2 on Thu, May 23, 13 at 13:52

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 1:43PM
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Would leaching the root zone help? We've had a hell of a lot of rain recently. 4.34 inches so far this month. Normal is to date is 2.7 inches. Normal this month is 3.27 inches.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 2:14PM
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If you prune out the damaged leaves and stems, and get rid of this refuse, then you can "wait and see" what happens next. If the problem comes back, then you very likely have a virus, as gator rider2 is suggesting, in the post above. If there are no more brown leaves, then the most likely cause is too much fertilizer.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 3:29PM
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Very nice looking Rabbiteyes! Rabbiteyes are very sensitive to fertilizers, expecially when young. I only use organinc ferts on Rabbiteyes for that reason. Its hard to burn them with organics and they dont need much in the way of fert anyways. I would go ahead and prune the plants now to remove the affected leafs and my experience with Rabbiteyes is they will get very long and whippy branches if not cut back a couple times a year. Your fruit will be in the dirt next season if not. Plus it slows them down alittle bit, strengthens there branches and produces more shoots at every cut so more fruit next season. I try to tip the branches every 8 to 10 inches or so and will cut the bull shoots at about 4ft. They can get out of reach in a hurry if not prunned. I stop tipping around Aug so they can produce there fruit buds on the remaining new growth. Great looking plants though;)

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 6:45PM
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One more thought on Rabbiteyes. The only problems Ive exeperienced with them is powdery mildew on the leafs and some leaf tip burn from water shortages. Never seen a rabbiteye with viruses. Not saying it doesnt happen but they are very hearty plants and from what Ive seen dont seem to have the same problems high bush blueberries have.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 7:22PM
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drew51 SE MI Z5b/6a

So we can all learn, keep us updated on any changes.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 8:45PM
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I really appreciate the advice. I've pruned off the affected areas and will monitor them closely.

It is interesting that the Tifblue plants are the only varieties showing symptoms, despite my treating all 5 bushes identically. Maybe they are more sensitive than the others? In the future, I may split the Hollytone by at least 3 months.

I'll be sure to irrigate if necessary and update in a few weeks.

    Bookmark   May 23, 2013 at 10:27PM
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One of my rabbiteye did the same after I got it out from the greenhouse I blamed it on changing environment. A month later it generated brand new leaves and look healthy

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 12:21PM
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